Inspired by reading an informational piece about glossophobia (fear of public speaking). Students would each choose a different phobia, conduct research, make a project, and present it to the class.
The two years I've done it, I did two variations. To shorten the time it took, I only gave students an option to do a poster. Then when it was due, they did a gallery walk of all the posters instead of individual presentations that took 2-3 days. Also, the longer project included an interview portion where they were supposed to interview someone about a fear that had (friend outside of the class, family member etc. and it did not have to be the same as the phobia they chose- that would be way too hard to find).
Included are the two variations for the project directions (2016 version is the shortened poster only version), rubrics, a project planning handout, a timeline/checklist for completing the project (longer version only), a list of phobias (I removed ones I deemed inappropriate, but you can remove more as you see fit. Some are obscure and harder than others, but provided a good lesson to students in choosing a manageable topic. Some had to switch because they couldn't find enough info, but they realized it quickly and it was fine with me.) Also included is the audience participation handout I had them fill out during the galley walk to ensure they were on task.
Some suggested sections for their project: describe the phobia, phobia symptoms, overcoming/curing the phobia, how it can affect a person's life. Suggested interview questions: how did you develop this fear? Have you overcome it? If so, how? How did it affect you? What feelings/symptoms did you experience?
Depending on if you choose the shorter or longer version, the project usually takes about 2 weeks with some class time and some done at home.
To supplement, I also found the episode of MTV's True Life "I have a strange phobia" online and played clips of the woman with the pigeon phobia to the class.